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Chapter Fourteen, Regimental Commander
"...The more deeply we moved into the thick forest, the more dispersed our lines became, because we had to secure our western flank at least scantily. Yet, in the end, I had to give up. With barely 150 men, one could not mop up an extremely clever opponent, presumably superior in numbers, in five to six kilometers of thick forest. We also had an uneasy feeling that the Algerians or Moroccans had already passed us in the north, and that it was only a flank guard that we were fighting. This feeling would become an extremely unpleasant reality by the evening.
It was, therefore, not feasible to advance any further. It also appeared to me to be extremely risky to leave my thin line of defense in this dense forest during the night.
My aide-de-camp and I noticed at dusk
how clever and dangerous the opponent was. For some time, there had been total
silence and we had a short exchange of thoughts as we were standing in a
clearing. Suddenly, a shot was fired, and a messenger who had come with us
stood for a second as if frozen, then fell to the ground. Upon my rather
frightened call, "Fiege, what's the matter?" he answered in clearly
understandable words, "I am dead, Herr Major!" Seconds later, that's
what he really was. One could move only with the most extreme caution. Comrades
carried the dead back as usual, wrapped in his ground-sheet. During the long
war I had experienced many things, but that a messenger reporting his own death
was one of the more macabre..."
Five Years, Four Fronts
The War Years of Georg Grossjohann, Major, German Army (Retired)
by George Grossjohann,
Translated by Ulrich Abele
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